Prominent Christians urge Church leaders to raise voice against growing intolerance

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

New Delhi, August 7, 2017: A hundred and one prominent Christians belonging to various denominations wrote an open letter to the Church leadership on Aug 4 asking them to support the civil society in its struggle to safeguard India’s cultural and religious diversity.

“We must save India’s religious diversity,” the writers shared their concerns over the steady shift “in our country from a pluralist, secular, democracy to a Hindu Rashtra”.

“What used to be fringe, has now become mainstream. There is a systematic design to undermine the Constitution. Official machinery often seems to be working in tandem with the vigilantes. Street lynching, victims charged as accused, stage-managed trials — all on the basis of one’s religious and caste identities. Media seems mute, silent in self-censorship, coerced by the State, or leashed by its corporate owners. Fake news is the final straw,” read the letter.

It added that a new coercive culture is destroying lives and families. “Fear stalks the land. The anger is as much over the killings as it is over our collective silence. The government’s double talk is apparent,” said the letter.

Speaking to The Hindu, former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, and a signatory to the letter A. C. Michael said: “This letter is addressed to all Christians telling them that they cannot be passive any more. They have to raise their voice against the violence that the country is witnessing today against the common man. This is our country and we have to protect its diversity.”

Other signatories included Jesuit theologians T. K. John and Francis Gonsalves, academicians Sr. Nirmalini, St Stephen’s college dean Fr. Monodeep Daniel, and All India Catholic Union president Lancy. D. Cuna.

“The National Crime Records Bureau documented 47,064 acts of violence against Dalits in 2014, up from 32,643 in 2010. Violence against Muslims is reaching an alarming level. The hate spewed not just by non-State actors and political functionaries, but even by Members of Parliament and sometimes by Ministers forms the backdrop of this violence,” the letter noted.

A release issued by the group which wrote the letter said: “The Christian community has not come out openly in support of the truth and its upholders. Many had looked upon the Church and expected it to protest these infringements, whoever be the victim of the moment.”

Addressing church leaders, the letter reads: “It is time to stand with the victims… to be the voice of the poor and the marginalised. It is time to collaborate with the civil society to spread the truth; and time to take bold initiatives and action to prevent further erosion of our humane and constitutional values”.

– hindu

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